My daughter, who is now 4 years old, needed regular visits to a cardiologist until she was a year old. As she needed a top specialist, we have to take her to St Thomas's in Westminster, London, which is a 40 mile journey each way. This may not sound so bad but when you factor in traffic, public transport delays and how central in London this is, it can be far from fun, especially if you are doing this trip alone.
So if you're thinking of braving it this bank holiday to visit relatives or do some site seeing in our capital, here is my list of how to have a stress free journey in the city with a baby.
1. Packing the changing bag Always, always, always check the bag thoroughly before leaving the house. On a number of occasions I have failed miserably at this and ended up 'borrowing' a nappy from another mum or having to dive into the nearest Boots for emergency supplies. But if you are in unfamiliar territory, this may not be an easy option.
2. Suitable equipment While we are on the subject of bags, use a bag that is sensible. You don't want the tube doors smashing all the rice cakes up in your Yummy Mummy suitcase. A rucksack is the way forward; compact, lighter and it means your hands free for folding the pushchair or wiping a bum.
3. Mobility Go for the lightest, smallest buggy you can, even if it means you need to borrow one. Tubes are a nightmare at the best of times but if you get stuck in rush hour, you will not be popular with a bloody great big Silver Cross pram. Better still, use a sling or baby carrier. If you're on your own though, be warned - you will have to go for a wee with the baby strapped to you!
4. Route planning I don't need to tell you that you need to know where you're going but always take engineering works into consideration and check which stations have wheelchair access for ease if you are taking the stroller. Plus you might want to work out where the nearest Starbucks is on the way ;)
I would constantly get stopped on Westminster bridge by tourists, usually when I was running late for an appointment.
5. Beware of the tourists If you are going anywhere near the centre of London there will be tourists, but if you are going anywhere where there is an iconic photo opportunity it will be swarming! Be prepared to weave around dawdlers, duck under snap shots and swerve dangerous selfie sticks. Tourists seem to lose all common sense and spacial awareness when they step foot anywhere near an attraction such as Big Ben or the London Eye.
Now that my daughter has been discharged and given the all clear we can look forward to trips to London more now. Plus she is so much bigger that it really does get so much easier to travel.
By Carly Lawrence